Leamington and Kingsville to join rest of Ontario in Stage 2 of reopening
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Leamington and Kingsville are allowed to move to Stage 2 of reopening.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the two remaining communities in Stage 1 can advance as of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
“Outbreaks in the community have been contained, community transmission is low and we have the resources for testing and contact tracing,” said Ford.
Ford made the announcement during his Monday news briefing.
He said he would be coming to the region for a haircut.
“I’m coming down to pay you folks a visit,” said Ford. “I’m in desperate need of a haircut, so I’m gonna be down there. Let’s pick a barber somewhere in Leamington or Kingsville.”
When the towns were held back during previous reopening announcement, Ford had promised he would get his haircut when all of Ontario was in Stage 2.
The other five municipalities in the Windsor-Essex region moved to Stage 2 on June 25. Kingsville and Leamington were held back due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in the agri-farm sector.
On Monday, Ford thanked the farmers and workers for their cooperation with testing, despite earlier pleas for compliance.
“I want to thank the farmers for their cooperation over the weekend and on Friday when we got on a conference call and I want to reach out to the workers – thank you for your cooperation,” said Ford.
About 700 agri-farm workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.
Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said Monday there are outbreaks at five workplaces, including a manufacturing facility in Leamington that moved into outbreak status over the weekend.
There are two agricultural facilities in Leamington and two in Kingsville that remain in outbreak status.
Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald expects the dialogue with Premier Ford to continue after receiving a text from Ford himself prior to the announcement Monday afternoon.
“I thanked him for listening because I think that was key because he said ‘I tried really hard for you’ in the text that he sent me before the press conference,” says MacDonald.
Business owners and residents in the two municipalities held a rally last week about being stuck in Stage 1. Now their focus can shift to getting ready for Tuesday’s reopening.